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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Author Interview & Contest with Vicki Pettersson

My guest this week on Amberkatze's Book Blog is the author of the Signs of the Zodiac series. Vicki Pettersson came on to the scene with an amazing new concept and book four in the series is due out in July.

Read the interview and find out more about the books, the writer behind them and the enter the contest!


Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you as a guest here and I hope you will enjoy your time here ;) Maybe you can start things off for us by telling my readers a bit about your Sign of the Zodiac books?

Vicki - Happy to! The Signs of the Zodiac series follows Joanna Archer, a woman caught in the crossfire between battling factions of Shadow and Light in a previously unrealized paranormal underworld. Lest this sound too gloomy, I set Joanna’s story in my bright, raucous hometown of Las Vegas.

Amber - How was the idea for the series born? Was it a long process or something that just came to you?

Vicki - A bit of both. The scene that spawned my interest in Joanna came to me in a dream, fully formed and full of attitude, fun, danger … and questions. In searching for the answers to these questions - Who is this woman? Why is this man trying to kill her? What will she risk to prevail? — I combined a few other elements that had taken hold of my imagination, and ended up unwittingly writing Urban Fantasy. Most surprisingly, the supernatural aspects - the realization that these people were contemporary superheroes and villains - mushroomed up out of nowhere. A character popped up in the third chapter and claimed to be a superhero. Playing along with that turned my burgeoning little series on its head.

Amber - How much research did you have to do for the books so far?

Vicki - The beauty of writing fantasy is that I get to make most everything up. I love that. The only thing I must be sure to do is remain consistent with the rules I’ve already created. I also do a bit of work with the astrological aspects since that element is so important to Joanna’s world. However, for the most part I’ll look things up as I need them. I’m often surprised at how well they dovetail with my imagination. For example, doppelgangers are precursors to tulpas in my books, something I was able to create a new explination for out of a story need. This strengthened my world’s mythology while giving the reader something familiar to mentally hang their hat upon. Doppelganger myths aren’t new, neither are tulpas, but by combining the two I think I’ve created something fresh. Ditto for my take on superheroes.

Amber - The fourth book in the series is due out in July. Did you know the series would go so far? How far do you want it to keep going?

Vicki - I knew from the first book that Joanna had a lot of story in her. I also knew pretty early on that there would be six books in the series. I see a couple more beyond that, but she’s being pushed so fast and hard that she’s having to make tough decisions with each book. To be honest, I’m not sure how much more she can take, and given her personality - facing something head on, guns blazing - I see her driving herself toward the ultimate showdown with the Tulpa. She wants resolution. I should have a better idea of how many books that will require by the time I’m done writing the fifth..

Amber - What other projects are you working on? Do you have any other ideas you want to see put on print in the future?

Vicki - I have two other series ideas that have taken hold, but it’s too early to talk about either. Both are fermenting in the back of my mind, waiting their turn, but I know they have legs because they won’t go away. (Please ignore the inherent irony of that statement.) I’m a one-project-at-a-time sort of writer though, real slow and methodical, and I find it unsettling to work on two things at once. So all my focus is on Joanna and her world, and will remain so for the next little bit.

Amber - How did you end up being a writer? Was it something you always wanted to do?

Vicki - I was a reader. I scribbled a bit as a teen, but writing seemed something magical and mystical … something other people did, and not at all attainable for a little girl from a dusty desert town. Still, I was a lover of the written word, and at some point in my twenty-sixth year the idea of writing a novel took hold. I haven’t been able to shake it since.

Amber - I read you used to be a showgirl? How was that?? And what other interesting jobs have you had?

Vicki - Honestly? Repetitive. I did the same step in the same place with the same people every night for a decade. Even the backstage movement was choreographed - I’d pass the same stagehands moving the same sets into the same places, and we’d share the same jokes. The good thing was this freed up mental energy for my imagination. (That’s a nice was of saying I was bored out of my skull.) The hours were great, the pay was good, and there was a bit of autonomy … important because I don’t really like to be told what to do. The best part of it was that I met and made the best friends of my life - I call them my Tribe - a group of women who are there for me no matter what. They don’t care what I do - or if I ever write another word - as long as I bring wine to our regular gatherings.

As for other interesting jobs … hm. Let’s just say that I rarely kept one long enough to consider it mine. I have a big mouth and strong opinions on what suits me and what doesn’t. Thank God the writing thing worked out. I’m really not suited for anything else.

Amber - What books do you like to read when you have time? Do you have any must read authors/series?

Vicki - Anything by Lehane, Gabaldon or J.D. Robb. All are consummate storytellers in their respective genres. I also sink into Janet Fitch’s work. She writes poetry as prose. Surprisingly, I don’t read much in the Urban Fantasy genre. That feels too insular to me, like a snake eating its own tail, and I’m also on guard against being overly influenced by genre “expectations.” My readers generally cite my originality as the number one reason for enjoying my series, and I don’t want to lose that. There are exceptions, of course, and two are Kim Harrison — because I was reading her before I was published - and Jeaniene Frost, because she’s so unapologetically fresh and edgy. She’s not afraid to Go There in terms of her sex and her violence and her voice in the paranormal romance genre, and I absolutely love that.

Amber - How do you relax?

Vicki - Family time. Playing with my toddler, going to the park. I love being a mother. Also hanging out with my aforementioned Tribe. As long as I have meaningful work, my family, and my friends, I’m a happy (non)camper. (Camping = Not Relaxing. Color me Urban. {Wry g})

Amber - Lots of authors have playlists for their books. What music or bands would find their place on a playlist for the Zodiac Series?

Vicki - The readers on my message board have actually set up a Zodiac channel on Pandora.com, so if you’re really interested, you could check that out. It’s pretty eclectic. Green Day, 3 Doors Down, Evanescence, Metallica, Linkin Park, Within Temptation, Poe… it goes on and on. I’m digging on Ani DiFranco (always), Sarah Bareilles, KT Tunstall, and Katie Melua right now. A bunch of chick rockers. {G}

Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature what would you be and why?

Vicki - I’m sorry, but my answer has to be that I’ve created the paranormal people I’d like to be - superheroes, even with their sullied capes. I write them because they’re interesting to me. Vamps have the whole, you know, DEAD thing going against them. I can’t imagine how painful waxing would be if I were some sort of were. Just tranq me already. So superheroes it is. (Guess I’m writing the right thing for me, huh?)

Amber - You are stranded on a desert island. What 5 things do you hope to have with you?

Vicki - Food, shelter, my kid, my lover, my books.

Amber - Thank you so much for being a guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog. I hope you will pop by again sometime!

Vicki - Thank you!


Contest Time!

Vicki is holding on to an ARC of City of Souls for the winner of this weeks contest. This fourth book in the Zodiac Series isn't due out till July so you will be getting this a whole month before it is released and it will be signed!

To enter the contest you have to comment here letting me know what sign of the zodiac you are!

No zodiac sign = No Entry.

Earn another entry for each place you link this contest on the net. Make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries!

You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

The contest will stay open until Saturday 30th of May 2009 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.

If you are claiming a prize, have emailed me and have not heard back before the 7 day limit is up then post a comment here on the blog. Your email may get sucked into my spam filter.



Tez Miller said...

I'm a Cancerian. Have heard that we're rather emotional creatures, which explains a lot... ;-)

Stephanie said...

I'm a Pisces, absolutely.

Thanks for the great interview! I'm going to have to look for these books now. =)

Unknown said...


babygirlG said...

Another Cancerian here!

Anonymous said...

great interview.

my zodiac sign is Cancer

Maija said...

I'm a Capricorn and according to hubby I sometimes act exactly like one :)

Kathy said...

I'm a Libra

Nancy said...

I'm also a Moonchild (Cancerian) with Leo rising as I recall, and a great deal of Gemini in my chart.

Vicki, I love that you have your Tribe , and I wish you all the best!

Nancy Haddock

Cathy M said...

This series totally works for me, and I can't wait to read City of Souls.

I am a Pisces.

LuAnn said...

I'm a Sagittarius. Not sure if the sign fits (LOL) because every time I read a description, it tells me something different!

Enchanted by Books said...

I adored the last book in the series and would LOVE to win the new book. I am a Sagittarius!

Anonymous said...

I'm a virgo. Thanks for the interview.

Pam P said...

Hi Vicki, I've always been interesting in astrology, definitely going to have to start reading your Zodiac books after reading the excerpts. Like your playlist artists.

I'm a Virgo, with a Scorpio ascendant.

Brandy said...

Capricorn here !!

Valerie said...

I'm an Aquarian and this looks like a great series. I'd love to win!!


Unknown said...

Oh, love a different question than you see on most blogs anymore! I'm a Gemini. Right on the cusp and some folks want to say I'm a Cancer, but have thought of myself as the twins all my life, so guess I'll stay that way!


Donna said...

I'm a Leo and this series sounds great!


Vickie said...

Scorpio. I loved the first two and have the third on the Wanton Wantin' Book List. Then the fourth will be on there if I don't win the ARC.....

Donna said...

I posted about this contest on my blog.

Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

Gaby317 said...

This sounds fun, please count me in.

I'm a Sagitarius.

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

Gaby317 said...

I posted a link to your contest on my blog's sidebar

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com


donnas said...

Im a Cancer.

Great interview and I love the series. Cant wait for the fourth book to be released.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Anonymous said...

I'm a Taurus. I figured I'd say that before I start rambling. ;-)

Wow, great interview!!! Scent of Shadows came out the day before my husband and I left for Vegas last year, so I forced myself to leave it in my checked baggage so that I could read it while lounging around the pool at the MGM Grand. The poor book fell apart from the heat and I ended up reading pieces of it, heh. The sunburn (my first, ha, I've never sat out in the sun for hours like that before) is gone, but I still have the "dead copy" on my bookshelf to remind me of how much fun I had on that vacation. We gambled a little, met up with some friends, had a couple of nice dinners, saw a great concert, went to a few clubs, and did some shopping at my favorite stores... but the thing I liked the most about visiting Vegas again was just sitting by the pool, sipping frozen daiquiri's, reading that book, and poking my husband every few minutes to babble about the series or moan because another part of the binding had melted. ::grins:: Sorry for going on... I'm reliving some good memories here! This series makes me cheer because it's so different from anything else on the market, and I'm going to be haunting the bookstore for weeks before the release date in the hope that someone made a mistake and put the copies out early. It's happened before! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Keep up the great work, Vicki! And great job with the blog, Amber! This is the first time FireFox has allowed me to leave a comment, boo.

~ Shawnna

the_fallen_angel AT comcast DOT net

Kytaira said...

I'm a sagitarius. I had to laugh at your comment about if you were a werewolf. Just trank me now. I felt like that the first time I used an Epilady. The second time I was drunk.

lynda98662 at yahoo dot com

Blodeuedd said...

Yes please count me in :D

blodeuedd1 (at) gmail (dot) com

I am a pisces, and it fits me very well

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the interview and I'm a pisces!

Arcanespeace said...

Im a capicorn with the rising sign of pisces and my moon sign is Virgo i am a astrology nutt would love to be included in the contest

mortalsinn @ yahoo .com

Unknown said...

I am a Taurus born in beautiful May on a Friday (=Venus).

I would really love to win the book. Many thanks to Amber for the interview and contest.

Kerstin :))

Jo said...

I'm a Piscean :) (+1)

I tweeted about this contest (+1):

I've linked to this contest on my contest section on my right sidebar (+1):

Email: joannestapley[at]googlemail[dot]com

drey said...

I am a Gemini, and sometimes I feel completely schizophrenic. =P I am also a Water Rat (you didn't say which zodiac, lol!).

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/dreys_tweets.
And this is on my contest page

cat said...

I'm an Aquarius! And I loved this interview - thanks to both of you!

I have been in love with this series since the first book hit the shelves!

Beyond Books

Pamela S said...

I'm Aquarius!!! Thanks.

hippo said...

scorpion here ;-)

chey said...

I'm a cancer.
Great interview!

SusiSunshine said...

I'm capricorn and I can't wait to read the next book.

Suzana said...

I'm sagittarius and i would really love to enter the giveaway.

Digital Diva said...

I'm a Taurus, born in May.

I can't wait for this book. I love this series.

Dawn M. said...

I'm a Gemini. :0)

librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Teresa said...

I'm Taurus
Great interview and great giveaway!

Shelbycat said...

I'm an Aries!

Loved the interview, these definitely look like another series i need to read!

CrystalGB said...

I am a Leo. Great interview. This series sounds good. :)

Unknown said...

I'm a Sagittarius. The Archer! Please count me in.

Dottie :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a Scorpio. This sounds like a great series. Thanks for counting me in.

L said...

I'm a Taurus. Great interview. Enter me please!


Alexia561 said...

I'm a Taurus. Love the series!

Lori T said...

Great interview and I love your photo! I am either an Aries or a Taurus...my birthday falls right on the cusp. So, it depends what you are looking at as to what mine is.

Jacqueline C. said...

I'm a Sagittarius born at the beginning of December and I love it! Here's my link to this contest on my blog: http://undercoverbooklover.blogspot.com/2009/05/win-city-of-souls-by-vicki-pettersson.html

Mardel said...

I love Vicki Pettersson's books - My Zodiac sign is Cancer. We're ultrasensitive (not always good), introverts, and hell-a-moody!

Mardel said...

Um...Hello again

forgot to leave link to contest: http://mardelwanda.livejournal.com/9681.html and here : http://mardel-rabidreader.blogspot.com/
From Mardel (the Cancer sign)

Angela Magee said...

I'm a fan and a Capricorn! :-)

tiffany said...

Woo! Love Contests :) I am a Sagitarrius!

StyleVamp said...

I am a Virgo born on the cusp of Libra (Supposedly that's a big to do, lol)

Jill said...

I love this series! My zodiac sign is Aquarius!!!

Sage Ravenwood said...

I'm a Cancer:

Emotional and loving
Intuitive and imaginative
Shrewd and cautious
Protective and sympathetic

On the dark side....

Changeable and moody
Overemotional and touchy
Clinging and unable to let go

Cancer's don't often like getting told what to do either (could explain our rebellious moody nature).

Thanks for the opportunity! Indigo

Jasmine said...

I am a Sagitarrius. Great interview. Thanks so much for the contest!!

Anonymous said...

Depends on where you look I am on the cusp of Scorpio and Sagitarrius. Can't wait for this book am crossing out the days on my calender. Thank you for the interview.

I posted this on FB

Unknown said...

I am definitely a Capricorn! Your books sound VERY ineresting! Would love to win the arc and read another new to me author!

Unknown said...

I'm a Libra, apparently. I don't know if that means anything, per se, but that's what I am.

Now for the boring stuff:
--I tweeted this giveaway here: http://twitter.com/shaunduke/status/1942242324
--I blogged about it here: http://wisb.blogspot.com/2009/05/sff-links-end-of-may-book-giveaways.html
--I stumbled it here: http://www.stumbleupon.com/url/amberkatze.blogspot.com/2009/05/author-interview-contest-with-vicki.html


Jay said...

Hi Vicki!!! I am a Taurus...stubborn to the point of stupidity at times. :D

Llehn said...

I'm a lovable Leo :-)

buddyt said...

I am an Aries and I am always sure I have won !

Please enter me.


Anonymous said...

I'm undeniable an Aries.

Rianonne said...


Janicu said...

I'm a Taurus :)

Unknown said...

I am a Leo. Vicky, I have never read any of your books. That is going to be fixed real fast. Your series sounds so interesting that I cannot wait to get out there and buy the books!

Anonymous said...

Libra here :-)

Pamela S said...

I'm a Aquarius!!! Thanks and I hope I win!!

Anonymous said...

I love this series! I've been reading along since the first book and eagerly anticipating each release. :)

I'm a Virgo through and through.

Anonymous said...


love buttin heads

Unknown said...

Really enjoy reading your blog. I'm new to blogging, but would like to know if you would like to do a link exchange. I have a site called vampirebooksite.com. Let me know, any help would be great!